Seminars for Tunisian Entrepreneurs

The training centre Akademie International and GIZ organised a virtual training programme in September 2020 to support Tunisian MP alumni in managing the Coronavirus crisis and offer an opportunity for better networking.

Alumni from various years got to know each other during a kick-off workshop and discussed their needs for the upcoming training programme. Following on from this, three half-day online seminars were held on the topics of remote sales, crisis management and “leading through change”. About 20 alumni participated in each session, meeting in small groups and sharing ideas.

In pairs and by means of role-plays during the seminar on remote sales, the participants could apply what they had learned – and then later put it straight into practice, as some participants reported during the closing event. “We have learned a lot today. We really rely on good international negotiation skills to grow our partnership with German companies. We have a good idea now how to structure our proposal and support it with DNF (data, numbers, and facts). We can use this knowledge in our next negotiations with German business partners.” says Alumnus Bougobba Haythem, CEO of Tunismart Consulting, who attended the MP in 2019.

In all three of the sessions the alumni were given practical advice on coping with the Coronavirus crisis: As in any instance of rapid change, it is about questioning conventional ways of doing things and developing newstrategies. One of the central aspects of successful crisis management and any change process is getting your employees on board with the process and motivating them to take on new tasks. The MP alumni were given proposals on these issues and worked together to develop possible solutions for Tunisian SMEs.

At the end of the training programme, the Tunisian participants met again to summarise the training sessions’ most important points and discuss their implementation in practice. In addition to many individual aspects that the participants had taken from the training, there was one overriding point that was especially important to them: Although the Coronavirus crisis makes personal communication and face-to-face contact more difficult, the virtual world also offers new ways of maintaining contact. This is true of in terms of both cooperation with German enterprises and supporting the Tunisian alumni network. To expand both, regular (virtual) alumni meetings are to be held, to which interested business representatives from Germany are also to be invited.

Of the many positive effects for the Tunisian alumni, one of the most important is that the participants renewed their courage and came to value the opportunities of virtual collaboration. The participant Meriem Ben Dlala, a project manager at Rose de Sable, summed it up as follows: “This training programme came at the right time to help us in this difficult situation.”